'American Idol' recap: Top 10 finalists determined as Kelly Clarkson serves as guest judge
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/26/2016
American Idol determined its farewell season's Top 10 singers, who then took the stage for home viewer votes on Thursday night.
On Wednesday night, American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. automatically advanced four singer to the Top 10 based on a unanimous decision they were worthy of moving on in the competition. Those lucky four singers were Olivia Rox, Dalton Rappatoni, Trent Harmon and La'Porsha Renae.
America then voted for which six of the remaining Top 14 contestants they'd like to see make the Top 10. During Thursday night's two-hour broadcast on Fox, Idol host Ryan Seacrest revealed the six contestants who received the most home viewer votes in no particular order: Tristan McIntosh, Sonika Vaid, Gianna Isabella, Mackenzie Bourg, Avalon Young, and Lee Jean.
The results ultimately eliminated Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn Blosil, Manny Torres and Jeneve Rose Mitchell.
American Idol's Top 10 fifteenth-season artists then took the stage and performed one by one as the show's first winner ever, Kelly Clarkson, sat as a guest on the judging panel and offered her critiques and expertise. There will be a double elimination next week.
Rox sang "Unconditionally" by Katy Perry and Urban thought it was the perfect song for her and she's a "real artist." Lopez complimented her great control and called it a beautiful job well done.
Isabella performed "Listen" by Beyonce. Lopez didn't think it was her best performance because it was shaky and pitchy, saying that she needs to pick songs she feels comfortable with at her age and can command. Clarkson admired her bold song choice and beautiful gift but advised her to stay out of her head while singing.
Jean took the stage with "Skinny Love" by Birdy. Connick said that while Jean is in his lane, he has a similar sound to Bourg and needs to concentrate on pitch, which takes discipline. Lopez suggested singing songs that truly mean something to him because then he can be extremely impactful without needing the most powerful voice in the competition.
Young sang "Stitches" by Shawn Mendes. Connick said she exudes "cool" but the performance fell a little flat. Urban sensed her nerves in the beginning but told her she's a good storyteller. Clarkson called Young "captivating" and "special."
Rappatoni performed his own rendition of "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's. Urban loved his confidence onstage, and Lopez admitted he's the "cool cute guy" but viewers love him because he has heart. Clarkson explained it's so rare to be that comfortable onstage and showing variety will bring him longevity in his career. Connick agreed, pointing out that Rappatoni has flipped all of his arrangements thus far and is "batting a thousand."
McIntosh sang "Nothin' Like You" by Dan & Shay. Lopez said she needs to find herself as an artist but it's completely understandable since she's only 15-years-old. It wasn't her strongest performance but Lopez wouldn't expect her to act like a fully-developed artist yet. Clarkson suggested she sing a Trisha Yearwood song because it would match her voice and tone, or a tune she can get really lost in. Urban told her to watch out for pitch.
Bourg took the stage with "I See Fire" by Ed Sheeran and Clarkson said she appreciates that he knows what type of artist he is and will be. She noted he's a vessel for great songs. Connick explained Bourg is compelling when he sings, and Urban complimented how comfortable he is on the guitar.
Renae performed "Diamonds In The Sky" by Rihanna and blew everyone away. Her performance was so good that the judges couldn't even speak over the audience's roaring applause. Clarkson blurted out that Renae needs to win American Idol and she'll be shocked if she doesn't. Clarkson also joked that Renae should just say "you're welcome" after every time she opens her mouth.
Vaid sang "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence and Urban said she had all the right drama and truly played to her strengths. Lopez advised her to keep believing in herself and living in the moment because she can go really far on Idol, and then Connick explained she showed "angst and passion" through an "incredible juxtaposition," which was really smart.
Harmon capped off the night by taking the stage with "Like I Can" by Sam Smith. Lopez complimented how unique and different his voice is, which makes the show exciting every time he sings. Clarkson said he's impressive and stands out. Connick dubbed it a "fantastic" performance, saying he nailed the runs.
Below is the list of American Idol's Top 10 finalists and their bio information:
- Mackenzie Bourg, a 23-year-old musician from Lafayette, LA
- Trent Harmon, a 25-year-old waiter from Amory, MS
- Gianna Isabella, a 15-year-old student from Jackson, NJ
- Lee Jean, a 16-year-old student from Bluffton, SC
- Tristan McIntosh, a 15-year-old student from Nashville, TN
- Dalton Rapattoni, a 19-year-old vocal coach from Dallas TX
- La'Porsha Renae, a 22-year-old call representative from McComb, MS
- Olivia Rox, a 16-year-old student from Agoura Hills, CA
- Sonika Vaid, a 20-year-old student from Martha's Vineyard, MA
- Avalon Young, a 21-year-old server from San Diego, CA